Human Resource Management - the History of Wal-Mart

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Table of Content
Executive Summary
History of Wal-Mart
Recognizing and Rewarding Employees
Labour Relations and Collective Bargaining

Executive Summary

In this paper, I will discuss the company Wal-Mart, which is a worldwide known retailer. I will particularly address two chapters. The first part of the paper will describe the way Wal-Mart’s employees are rewarded and recognized for their work. The second part will discuss the much controverted: labour relations and collective bargaining. First, I start by covering a bit of the history of the company as well as some important dates. Throughout its history, it is possible to see how fast the company grew in terms of stores, employees, and sales. Next, I continue to relate the information I obtained about Wal-Mart to chapter seven in the HRM book, Essentials of Managing Human Resources. This part contains some of the voluntary and financial benefits offered to the employees by the employer and also how employees are evaluated. Afterwards, I create a link with the difficult subject of collective bargaining. I tell one story that actually happened in Quebec, in 2005, about someone who left a mark in the history of Wal-Mart. I also tell the possible reasons why an employer would not want his employees to be unionized. Finally, I conclude my research with my opinion on the giant company: Wal-Mart.


For this term paper, I chose to research a company that is really profitable for its customers, but very demeaning for its employees. On the contrary, this company has won many prizes including the 2010 Corporation of the year, which is nothing small! As seen in class, I’m referring to the international path Wal-Mart has taken. The reasons why I chose Wal-Mart are simple. First of all we have seen lots of videos in class about this company and the comments were mixed. In one of the videos, the employees who were giving their testimony were complaining about the way they were treated within the company; they were under paid for the value of their work, and they did not have enough recognition for what they were contributing to the company. Overall, the videos about Wal-Mart always displayed positive things when the managers would tell the viewers about the way they treat their employees and the way they participate in ethical business. I noticed that in these videos, employees were somewhat happy with their jobs, and in general would not complain. Those were people who worked as United States employees at Wal-Mart stores. In my research, I tried to look at the point of view of the Canadian workers of Wal-Mart. Most of the stories that I heard were about the way they were abused of their rights. Many of them were complaining about the poor quality of the management and on top of all that too many employees were afraid of grouping up into unions for fear that the management would decide to close the store (as it did happen in 2005 in Jonquière). So I found that this company was worth investigating. In the following pages you will find out about how the employees are rewarded and also about collective bargaining in Wal-Mart.

History of Wal-Mart

Differently to what many people think, the discount retailing did not start with the opening of famous stores such as Kmart and Wal-Mart in 1960, but with the chain of variety stores owned by Sam Walton in the 1950’s. Samuel Moore Walton is the founder of the Wal-Mart store chain. In regards to Wal-Mart, its first store started in 1962 when Sam and his wife, Helen, decided to invest their money in the first store. Their investment made up 95% of the money that was necessary to open the first Wal-Mart in Rogers, Arkansas. While Kmart was expanding its stores in the 1960’s, Sam only had the money to build 15 more stores at that time. In 1972, Wal-Mart entered the New York Stock Exchange and in 1977, Wal-Mart opened it pharmacy, auto service center, and jewellery divisions. By...
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